Dear Congregants, Friends and BACNS Families, as our fiscal year and school year winds down, I have several Upbeat Messages about our future. I’m grateful to all of you who are here to share them with me. In addition, please join us for the Annual Meeting on June 13, 10:30 a.m., to understand the bigger picture. This is on a separate zoom url which is sent to members.

Throughout the entire pandemic shutdown, beginning in March 2020, I convened a broad coalition of staff and members called the “Reopening Task Force.” We worked together to support the reopening of BACNS, the continuation of religious services and the support of Rabbi Miller on ZOOM, and the care of Elizabeth Jarlsberg, (our Office Manager of 15 years), so that everyone has been safe. The care of Rabbi, staff, maintenance crew and members has been paramount. Our Task Force met as often as every 2 weeks.

Upbeat Message: We’re beginning to open up for services! Today, June 4, is our first outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat. Masks are required, social distancing will be observed and we ask you to register in advance ( Rabbi Miller has been holding Saturday morning services from inside the Sanctuary with a limited number of participants who assist him leading the service. You may continue to participate in all services on ZOOM as well.

Until we know more from Governor Newsom and our Sonoma County Health Director on June 15, Rabbi Miller will continue to welcome participants via ZOOM on Saturday morning. The Task Force will consider modifications to current protocols after June 15. Many members are eager to see one another and participate person to person; we’re aware and we’re moving in that direction with anticipation and caution. Stay tuned for details.

Upbeat Message: Your Board of Directors has hired a new Executive Director for Congregation Beth Ami. Kevin Scheier is a recent transplant to Sonoma County with a history of commitment and engagement with the Jewish community, including being a Board member for 10 years of Congregation Beth Jacob on the Peninsula. Kevin has had a successful career in the for-profit world and he’s looking forward to bringing his skills and engaging personality to our community. Kevin will be formally introduced on June 13 at the Annual Meeting and begins his tenure in the office on June 15. Welcome aboard, Kevin.

The Beth Ami Community Nursery School (BACNS) has just completed a very successful year despite fires, heat, COVID and layers of COVID protocols that had to be strictly observed throughout the year. As many as 63 children were able to be with friends and teachers daily – families have been extremely appreciative. Thanks to Co-Directors Jessica Joerger and Natalee Pughe for spearheading what by any measure must have been “the most stressful” year ever. Thanks to Henry Cohn who acted as Supervisor, keeping in touch daily. And thanks to Deborah Burg-Schnirman, who was consultant to BACNS in the first 6 months of the year, mentored Jessica and Natalee, and connected them to Jewish Early Childhood resources, essential to our preschool’s continuing success.

Upbeat Message: BACNS is already full for the 2021-22 nursery school year, beginning in August:

Warm regards, Carolyn